Earl was a loving husband, father and big brother. I was his youngest sister. Even though we were separated by eight and a half years and over 1200 miles much of my adult life, we shared a special bond.
Earl was my mentor. Ever since I can remember, he told me what great potential he saw in me. He taught me how to be a critical thinker but also gave me great advice. We shared a passion for baseball, skiing, ping pong and chess, and a fun rivalry for his MSU Spartans and my U of M Wolverines. And as the big brother, he doled out more than his fair share of teasing.
In May 2010, Earl died by suicide at a local shooting range. That morning changed all our lives forever. For me it was shock and heartbreak followed by questions with no answers and my own depression. I miss and think about Earl every day. I try to mark the anniversary of his death each year by attending a Twins baseball game to celebrate our shared passion for the game. Survivors never forget, but we do adapt to a new normal over time.
Suicide rates are on the rise, and the majority of suicides are by gunfire. Red flag laws allow guns to be taken from our loved ones temporarily while they may be a danger to themselves or others. Many states don’t have them.
I’ve wanted to make a positive difference from Earl’s death but haven’t been sure what path was right for me. In his memory, I have now joined Moms Demand Action to fight for gun sense in America. Minnesota is considering red flag and universal background check legislation this session. My hope is that out of one death, I will be part of the movement that will save countless lives in America!